Author - Susmita Mukhopadhyay | Category - Adventure, Himalayas, Travel, Trekking | March 30, 2014

‘The Mountains are calling, and I must go.’ – John Muir

I don’t know how to start writing this article. So many words, so many lines, so many unshared feelings jumbled up in my mind all at a time. Don’t know how to line up them properly and how can I make my experiences to be your experiences.

Coming back from Annapurna Foothills trekking on 2012, I decided to go for another trekking trip. But I was not sure whether I will be able to make it. Sometime around January 2013, I asked my maestro Sujoy to let me know about his all trekking trip for the year 2013. So that I could arrange for the required money as I am the self sponsor of my trip. Thanks to Sujoy, he prepared the plan for all his trekking trips for the year 2013 much earlier and he gave me the estimated value that I would require to go for the Langtang Valley trekking trip. I started saving money for the year end Langtang Valley trekking arranged by South Col Expedition.

I started managing my financial situation like pro and continued to save money for everything that is important. Three months before my trekking trip I joined a local Gym near my house which is a very good gym with highly enthusiastic young fellows. I resumed my daily workout regime and I was working under the guidance of my trainer Raju. Suddenly entire universe was in my favour. Universe was playing its role and a strange synergy was maintained everywhere. Preparation of my trip was going with no hassle and without spending any additional money. Then the day came when I was supposed to fly to get up & close with my bold hearted boyfriend Himalaya.

Day 1 – (Kolkata to Kathmandu) – I prepared myself and I was about to leave home to look for a taxi, from outside our society. But suddenly a taxi entered our society and parked right below my balcony and when I asked he agreed to drop me to the airport. What a blessings! I reached airport on time. Flight was on time. In the immigration department in Kolkata international airport, gentleman on his duty greeted me with a lovely smile and once enquired about my travel purpose to Nepal he wished me best of luck for my Langtang Valley trekking trip. I flew for Kathmandu on a bright sunny day. While flying I got to see great view of entire Himalayan ranges standing high on the horizon. Every time I see Himalaya, it is always new to me. I reached Kathmandu on scheduled time. Once checked in into hotel Nirvana I met all my team members who came from various parts of the world.

Day 2 – (Kathmandu to Syabru bensi) – At around 8 am in the morning we started from Nirvana hotel for our next destination Syabru bensi. From Kathmandu to Syabru bensi it is almost 130 Km and it usually take six to eight hours based on the road conditions. Sujoy arranged a small luxury van for us, so that our eight hours journey could be made as comfortable as possible. However, the roads were rickety but I enjoyed every bit of the journey except few dangerous patches due to landslides.

1-DSCN4944 1-DSCN4956

I can still remember that there were three most dangerous patches on our way to Syabru bensi due to landslides. Our efficient driver drove across all those dangerous patches safely. Here I would like to mention about one moment where I got extremely scared and I started praying to God for our safe journey. I was sitting on the left side window seat. Once when we were crossing a landslide area where the entire concrete road was vanished and a 7/8 ft muddy trail was cut out in between the landslides for daily transportation. One point on that particular landslide a huge boulder was hanging just 5/6 ft above the road bed. When our van was crossing that boulder it had to take the far left side of the trail to avoid any collision with the boulder and right at that moment sitting on the left side in the van I noticed that all the left side wheels of our van was just on the edge. The entire bus crossed the boulder moving inch by inch. On the left side I kept looking on the river far down the valley, which actually was looking like a thin silvery hair ribbon. Suddenly I realised that atmosphere inside the bus was absolutely silent. I continued praying to God for our safety. I realised that in life many a times we need to depend on others even for our life and it’s our duty to pay due respect to others for their skill and to become a part of our life. We continued our journey through curvy mountain roads and valleys and soon after we left the entire Kathmandu valley far behind and enter a completely different Himalayan region. Before entering Syabru bensi, I felt that we were entering into less polluted, less explored Himalayan forest. We reached Syabru bensi sometime around 4.30 PM. I checked in to my room settled my stuff, took my camera and stepped out for exploring the small Himalayan village before sun sets. I walked down the valley and encountered my first friend. Oh!! The baby was so cute and adorable. I took her photo taking permission from her mom and then greeted them all before leaving the place.

Langtang Valley Trek Langtang Valley Nepal

Soon after I came across a beautiful tiny bird, whose ID I am yet to find out. Further down the valley I spotted the birds ‘Wall Creeper’, ‘Blue Whistling Thrush’ and few more which I was unable to recognise. During this time I was accompanied by one Italian fellow, but he was pretty tall and a fast walker. Unable to match up with his expertise, I decided not to go far down as I was all alone and darkness started covering the valley. I came back and took a cup of hot ginger tea and then settled myself in my room and started arranging my trekking gear for our much coveted expedition. I recharged my camera battery, mobile and torch, as I was informed that after Syabru bensi we will not have any access to electricity. By 7 PM I finished my dinner with Chicken steamed momo and another cup of hot tea and then zipped myself within the sleeping bag.

Day 3 – (Syabru bensi to Rimche) – I got up early this morning and looked outside from the window glass. Morning beauty was astonishing. In the dawn, the sky was flooded with purplish blue color. Mountains were colored with dark shades of green and to enhance the beauty of the landscape there were many pink colored patches made by several cherry blossom trees. It seemed to me that supreme power had painted the canvas with his favourite colors.

1-DSCN5022 1-DSCN5023

These cherry blossom trees were enormously attractive and were the paradise for different types of colourful tiny birds. In that morning I spend almost one hour simply watching the movements of birds and trying to figure out the names of the red, orange and green colored birds by following my bird book. When I came outside of my room and stood in the balcony, it was too cold. However, I enjoyed the fresh air, smell of the forest, sounds of flowing river and the chirping sounds of birds. I soaked myself in the freshness of the mountains and forests. I called my parents, greeted them with love and joy and shared my satisfaction with them. They were happy knowing that I was happy. They wished me again for a great successful journey. I thanked them and got ready for my trekking expedition to start. After having breakfast we all started sometime around 7.30 am in the morning. This was our first day of trekking.

1-DSCN5042 1-DSCN5024

Soon after we crossed a large log bridge and entered the Langtang national park forest area. We continued through the dense forest of Langtang National park alongside the river Langsisha. The river flowed over the rocks and stone plates. Its’ fast flowing current gave it a milky white appearance. It seemed to me that probably millions of years before these mountains were attached to each other and probably it was a massive single rock plate which was sliced by rivers and eventually small plane areas were formed in the river banks which later transformed into valleys and made places for human settlements. Being so close to nature, I started imagining the formation of our planet and the formation of Himalayas and lives surrounding it. I started imagining that how life was here 100 years back.

1-DSCN5045 1-DSCN5069

We continued for hours, walking alongside the river and about after one hour we reached a waterfall at Doman. We got our much awaited tea break here. The journey was tough so I started becoming tired. During our journey I spotted lots of Blue & Green magpie. However, due to far distance I was unable to take photos of them. Soon we started climbing through the dense forest and after an hour of walking we reached a place called Landslide. This place is infamous for its frequent landslides and in true sense that entire region was terrifying. I saw many dangerous and recent landslides which made that trail even more difficult for us to climb. But in trekking these things are expected and that is the challenge which a trekker has to accept. From Landslide we continued climbing through forests and finally we reached a place called Bamboo, where we had our lunch. As usual I had my lunch with famous Nepali Dal, Bhat. After lunch we started again through dense riverside forest area. Soon after I realized this time trail was not that easy to continue. It was a continuous zig zag climb along a series of waterfalls. At few places there were steep climbs, where I went breathless. I stopped several times to cope up with the situation. Several times I felt probably I won’t be able to finish this trail, probably everybody will overtake me and I will be left alone in this jungle at night. All which wired thoughts crossed my mind were horrifying. Only hope was that I was not alone, it was me and one of my trek mates who were left behind the entire group. Both of us were scared and started walking fast. The more we tried to walk faster or the more we tried to climb faster, the more we got tired. We stopped frequently for grasping air. Soon we understood that we two ladies were far behind the entire team. We had to walk faster as forest is grew colder and getting darker as sun is already gone behind the mountains that we left far behind. During that point I started thinking that whether decision of going for a trekking was at all a good decision or not. Anyways there was no looking back for me at this time. Then on that moment our only target was to reach tea house as early as possible. As we continued walking, after a while suddenly we noticed our trek leader Sujoy is sitting on a huge boulder placed at the corner of the trail. Wow! What a relief. I bet that time there was no one happier than us seeing Sujoy in the trail. When we met him, he said he was waiting there for us to reach. Then he asked us to continue walking and he will follow us. It was a great relief for us knowing that our leader is just behind us and we were not lost. Finally the zig zag trail entered a place known as lower Rimche. We thought we will get a tea break there, but as we were too late we had to continue for our destination to upper Rimche. From lower Rimche to Upper Rimche we had to climb through a steep trail and I felt that my left thigh’s muscles had started cramping. As my right knee is broken I had to give more stress on my left leg, as a result my left thighs were almost unmovable. Somehow I dragged myself till upper Rimche. When we reached Lama Hotel at upper Rimche it was dark and too cold. After 9 hours of walking I was too exhausted to move any further. My entire body was aching. All my muscles rebelled against me and decided not to cooperate. To cope with the situation first I took a hot cup of ginger tea, and continued moving here and there so that my muscles should not get stiff too much. After that I sprayed volini on my thighs. Then I rested for few times in my room.

1-DSCN5074 1-DSCN5127

This upper Rimche was the last place where our mobile network was working. Amazingly, mobile network was just working in one spot only. I spoke to my parents and informed them and made them aware that next day onwards there will be no communication so not to worry about me.

Once I talked to my parents, after that I settled myself inside the dining room. The place was a semi dark. Everybody was trying to sit near the fire to keep them warm. In Nepal, especially at high altitudes these dining rooms are nice. In the centre of the room you will see the fireplace which is covered with solid iron plates and surrounding that fireplace dining tables are placed with wide benches. After dinner these benches are used for sleeping at night for the hotel owners and for the porters as well. Anyway, when I entered the room it was filled with many trekkers. Because the room was not so well lighted I couldn’t see the other part of the room. I sat near the fireplace and started leafing through my bird book – ‘Birds of Nepal’ by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp. Suddenly I realised that someone came and sat just next to me and he sat very close to me. Before I looked at him he asked me that whether I had seen any bird on the trail. Without looking at him, I said him that on the trail I had seen wallcreeper, blue magpie, green magpie, mountain bulbul, Himalayan bulbul, black-backed forktail and few tiny little birds which I was unable to recognise. He said to me that he had also seen these birds apart from that he had also seen two golden eagles. With excitement I said – ‘Golden Eagle!’ Wow! I wish I could have seen them too. He said – “you move up the trail, there are chances that you might see a Golden Eagle”. “They are waiting for you”. Both of us laughed and by the time other people also joined us in our discussion. I felt great. Because in last six years since when I have taken bird watching as one of my hobbies nobody ever accompanied me in bird watching. Neither did I ever have had any discussion with any of my close friends regarding bird watching and regarding the beauty of these creatures. Anyway, while we were discussing one Nepali young guy came and gave a book to the man with whom I was talking. Then I looked at him, he was almost about 60-65 years old or probably older than that. He was of my Dad’s age and almost like my dad. He was more than 6ft tall. When I looked at him he asked where from I came. I replied that I was from Kolkata and I came to know that he was from Netherlands. He asked me since when I am watching birds. I said since last 5 years and when asked he said he is into this field since last 50 years or more than that. Everybody stopped talking in the dinning. We all realised that he is a pro birdwatcher. With great respect I looked at him again, and he smiled at me and opened his very old bird book. He told me – let me show you how to maintain your database. He also told me never lose your bird book. These books are assets. Then he showed me in his book that how he maintained his database. I saw few pages had pencil marks from 1993, 1991 and it had written that where he saw that particular bird and when. I also noticed that several times he visited Nepal, India or Asian continents. I listened to his each and every word. It was a great feeling for me that I was discussing about bird watching with a very experienced man that too from a different nation and who was actually motivating me to continue with this interest. I realised that why travelling is important. Travelling gives you the opportunity to know new people. It welcomes the unknown. Travelling opens up your mind, it gives you the opportunity to open up your heart in front of unknowns, strangers. It extends the boundary of your knowledge. It makes you lovable and more acceptable by others. My heart was filled with joy and satisfaction and sense of great achievements. I thanked God for his blessings.

Day 4 – (Rimche to Ghora Tabela to Langtang Village) – Next day morning when I got up I felt enormous pain on my left leg. I was scared when I saw that I am unable to move my leg because the thigh muscles of my left leg cramped so badly. I sat quietly on the bed for a few minutes and then got out of my sleeping bag and started preparing myself. It was freezing cold outside. I took my down jacket and went outside. Oh! Wow! This was the first reaction that came out of me. I stood exactly in the middle of the small plane area where the Lama Hotel was situated. I looked all around. I was exactly standing in between the foothills of three, four giant mountains. These high Himalayan Mountains were adjacent to each other and were covered with old green trees. In between these mountains was a small plane area in the river side known as Changtang and popularly referred to as Lama Hotel. I looked straight up. Small portion of the blue clear sky was visible but I couldn’t see the mountain peaks. It seemed to me as if I was standing inside a well created by these mountains. From deep inside this well you can only see a part of the sky because your visibility is restricted by the mountain walls. When looking towards north, on my right side river langsisha was flowing with its complete vigour. On my left side exactly 5-6 fts away from me a massive mountain wall was standing tall like a brave guard and just in front of me in between the trees I could see the snow capped mountain peaks. I forgot all the pains which I had. I forgot all those pains that I carried deep inside my heart. My heavy heart became lighter than ever before and I freed myself there. If I wouldn’t have taken few bold steps in my life, I wouldn’t have realised the meaning of life. I wouldn’t have realised that everything happens because of some purpose. Supreme power had decided to take me to that beautiful place. Simply to reach that place, to experience that beauty of nature I had to pass through several phases of life events. Well, decision of going for a high altitude trekking was worth taking.

Lama Hotel area is having half a dozen lodges and I saw everybody was getting ready either to go up or to go down. Now the time came for us to start our journey for our most desired place ‘Langtang Valley’. I prepared myself, and with unexplainable pain in my leg I started last among all that day. I was dragging my left leg. But I had to continue or I had to stay back at Lama Hotel. But I came to see Himalaya not to sit back rather to challenge myself and to test my endurance level. This is where I excel. Where I can challenge myself and can push myself further beyond my capacity level. This is what I am. This is the purpose of my life. So I have to do it. I have to go up.

1-DSCN5138 1-DSCN5140

I started walking slowly. I stopped, I walked and then again I stopped. This is how I continued for more than one hour. Then suddenly I could no longer feel any muscle cramp on my leg. I started with long steps and I felt stiffness of muscles was vanishing slowly. Then soon after I caught hold two of my trek mates. After an hour and so trail becomes steeper and we started climbing through the wild old forest of hemlocks, oaks, maples and rhododendron enriched with bird life. I enjoyed every bit of that trail as I came across huge number of known and unknown birds. Among which I had seen few absolutely red and orange coloured bird though I was unable to identify them. Also I had spotted few wild Himalayan monkeys deep inside the jungle. Tantalising glimpses of Langtang Lirung through jungles and trees was reminding me the peek-a-boo game of my childhood days. Path continued to climb. We then passed pretty small Riverside Lodge at Gumnachok. We stopped at small beautiful lodge Woodland to have our tea break; this was located at a place known as Ghunama. After that trail we had to cross a stream and climbs steeply and steadily along the path that continues to a pass with prayer flags and enters Ghora Tabela a popular lunch spot. We stopped here for our lunch. Meanwhile I realised that I no longer had any pain on my legs and I was walking very efficiently and steadily. Not only that in several cases I helped two of my fellow trek mates to cross rough patches and gave them hand to climb some steep steps. I felt good about my strength and fitness. I silently thanked my trainer Raju, who eventually is a Nepali guy too. Here I also noticed that we are leaving the forest behind and entering into a rocky terrain. Though the trail continued through rhododendrons but there were no big trees. Sun was just on top of our head and it was penetrating.

1-DSCN5149 1-DSCN5155

After lunch we again continued climbing. After Ghora Tabela, there were no permanent inhabitants except for the operators of the two lodges. We sat at Lovely Lodge for resting. Sujoy recommended me to have yak card with honey. This was the best recommendation I ever had. The taste of yak curd with honey was extremely luscious. The owner of the lodge was a young guy and pretty excited seeing me and another trek mate. He wanted to take snaps with us. So we had little fun there taking photos with him.

1-DSCN5173 1-DSCN5170

After that we crossed Nepal army and national forest post. In this army post they will check your permits. There I met a handsome guy and after conversation I came to know that he is the reserve forest officer. We took photo of us together and said good bye to each other. He said we will remember each other. Yes, of-course I will remember him.

The trail ascends gradually. We followed the trail through yak pastures and climb briefly through rhododendrons and we reached a place called Thangshyap. Now suddenly the trail was absolutely open in country. The open view of the entire Himalayan valley, with snow capped mountain peaks in the border line absolutely blows your mind. Here you will experience the freshness of the mountain village. You may come across field of buckwheat, potato and barley and this will continue till you reach the place called Chamki. After Chamki we reached a place called Ghumba village from where the entire Langtang village is visible. It seemed that how easy it would be to reach Langtang village but I never knew that I had to climb a small trail again. About after 30 mins there was a log bridge and then we entered the Langtang Village. The village is beautiful. The trail crosses a small stream and several water driven mills and prayer wheels and small but beautiful lodges.

Langtang National Forest Mount Langtang

It was a long day with various geographical changes in the Himalayan terrain. Our day ends with the magnificent view of Langtang Lirung, Tsergo Ri and Gang Chempo in the setting sun. I saw the changing colours of Himalaya from my room. It was an excellent place. At night we all gathered at dining room. I had supper. Then I pretended to study the book – Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya by Lonely Planet but actually I was trying to figure out the people out there sitting on that dining room. I saw people from various places from all over the world were there. Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Indian, American, and Australian everyone was there. Various people with various languages, cultures converged there.

At night it was too windy and extremely cold and I must admit that it was lonely as well. And I honestly admit that I wanted to be loved. But I had to keep my emotions deeply buried within my heart as I had no partner with me.

“There was loneliness as the sun set, but only rarely now did doubt return. I felt sinking as if my whole life lay behind me. Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to total absorption with the task at hand. But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I left behind.” – Thomas F. Hornbein, Everest: The West Ridge.

 Langtang Langsisha Mt. Gyanchempo

Day – 5 – Rest and acclimatization day at Langtang village – This was a bright sunny day with clear blue skies and excellent view of all the mountains in the surrounding areas. Once I had my breakfast I decided to explore the entire Langtang village along with Sujoy. We roamed here and there in the Langtang village and came across few beautiful birds like beautiful rosefinch, brown rock-chat, Eurasian blackbird, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, and snow pigeon. Here the Gompa above the village is worth visiting. However that moment my luck was not in favour of me. The keeper of the Gompa, a very old Tibetan man lost the keys and we were unable to enter the Gompa. We stood there for long and enjoyed the scenic beauty along with an Australian father-son duo. After spending long time there we came down to the main village and had our lunch and I prepared myself for exploring the other side of the village. The other side of the village consisted of few lodges, a cooperative bakery. I heard that cooperative bakery provides freshly baked bread and apple pie. Extreme north side of the village had traditional stone and wooden houses. These houses have Tibetan-style flat roofs and wide wooden windows with traditional carved works. Here the entire population probably maintains the Tibetan culture. I saw a lady weaving wool. The colours of the wools were stunning. I bought a bright blue wool ball for my mom. She will love knitting something for her granddaughter from the wool that I bought for her. I was happy that I had bought something very original. I roamed around the entire village and tried to absorb the culture of that small populace those who are living their life far beyond the city life with less amenities and still they were so happy and maintained the originality.

Now when I don’t know about paradise I assumed that this could be the part of the paradise where inhabitants are still close to nature and an integral part of the Mother Nature. I wish I could have stayed back there.

Day – 6 – Langtang Village to Kyanjin Gompa – Next day was brutally cold and windy. We walked past the field of Langtang Village and came across a beautiful chorten. We then climbed gradually and passed an impressive long mani wall soon after which we reached a small village called Mundu.

We continued walking through rocky terrains of Himalaya. In this part of Himalaya there were no trees. It was like a Himalayan desert. Sands beneath the feet were thin and very loose and strangely enough just like sands in the sea banks. May be I was too imaginative. We all know that scientist says that several thousand years back Himalaya was an undersea tectonic plate. While approaching towards Kyanjin Gompa, I felt that the velocity of the wind was higher than what we felt earlier. I realised this is called – ‘Thin Air’. This thin air was pinching and very sharp. At the same time sun was at the middle of the sky and it was too hot and forcing us to strip off to a one layer t-shirt. In this environment we continued climbing for 3 to 4 hours. Scenic beauty in the trail was absolutely unrealistic. A beautiful rocky stream runs close along the trail for large part of the walk. The towering ice pinnacle was on both sides of the trail. I no longer needed to be excited seeing the glimpses of snow-capped mountains because they were standing tall right in front of me. It seemed to me it was not me looking at mountains, it was the mountains who were looking at me. They welcomed me with wide extended arms, asked me to indulge their love and to be lost into their arms. The closer I got to Himalaya, the more I became a part of it. After almost 3 hours of climbing we finally see the monastery of Kyanjin Gompa. From here for first time I saw a Himalayan glacier. This was the great icefall flowing from the peaks of Langtang Lirung and Kimshung. This is popularly known as ice-tongue of Langtang Lirung. With a great view of Langtang Lirung glaciers and with enriched heart we continued climbing and after an hour or so we finally reached Kyanjin Gompa.

Once we reached Kyanjin Gompa, our trek leader Sujoy said, he is going to climb the peak Kyanjin Ri. I was not sure about what to do. There were two options, either I should stay back there and take rest for the rest of the day or I should join Sujoy for climbing the peak Kyanjin Ri. The two sides of my mind fought amongst each other for a while and then the ‘risk-taker’ part of my mind won and I decided to join Sujoy. I had my lunch, took my stuff and got ready to climb the peak.

Soon after Me, Sujoy and Persis and with three of our Sherpa guides started for Kyanjin Ri. Just after 15 minutes of climbing I realised that the trail was not so easy to climb. The peak was almost vertical, thin trail was not very friendly. Rubbles were lose and slippery. Adding to it, journey was made pretty tough by brutally cold and sharp wind. Though it was very cold but my palm was sweaty due to enormous physical exertion. As a result my hiking pole was frequently slipping from my hand. I had to leave one of my hands free and I gave one of my hiking poles to my guide Shyam and I held his hand. He is a strong Nepali chap and he held onto my hand firmly. I still can remember that almost in every step I was going out of breath and I had to stop. Every step I was climbing up, I said – ‘Shyam Wait.’ He stopped, I took rest, and I took long breath and then again proceeded. Climbing was tough. But then again, in life any upward movement is tough. You need to work hard for that and nothing is easily available. While climbing it felt as if my lungs might explode out of my body. I could hear my heart beats it was nothing less than some drum beats. However, I had to go up. If you ask me that why do I needed to climb up, well there is no relevant answer for that. I just felt that I have to climb this peak. While climbing up we stopped several times for taking some rest and I looked down. The entire valley was visible and the houses in the valley looked like sand particles from the top. That moment I asked myself how I am ever gonna go down, I felt nothing below my feet. But then there was no looking back. Even at a point of time when climbing seemed too tough for me I realised that going down would be much harder than it and I might fall, I started feeling that I may die because of an accidental fall. I started thinking why I am taking such risk? Is it worth taking at all? What I am going to achieve after this climbing. I remembered my mom dad; I badly wanted to go back to them and wanted to hug them. I wanted to tell them I love them too much. I prayed to God for the successful completion of my task because I wanted to tell them I love you mom-dad.

I still remember several times I slipped and it was Shyam who seized me from falling and pulled me up. In your life you may meet many other people apart from your family and friends who sometimes can help you to get up when you are in trouble. They can give you the required love and strength when you really need it. So my lesson from this journey is to respect all, love all and be good to others. Good things are bound to return to you.

Somehow I managed to continue climbing but after more than two hours of walking and when we almost reached the top I started feeling dizzy. My knees started shaking, and I was unable to drag myself further. I became breathless. Almost near the top I gave up and I told the entire team that I am unable to climb further. I felt I will go unconscious or I may get a heart attack as I was really grasping for air. I was scared, thinking that I won’t be able to go down, as I started feeling very week on my knees and my legs were shivering badly due to severe physical exertions, and I could feel that my head was spinning. I thought I am gonna fall from this high altitude while going down. Only thought process that was going on my mind was that I won’t be able to get down. I stopped and surrendered myself to the hands of failure. I told the entire team that I am unable to continue. However, our leader Sujoy said can you continue for 5-10 mins more. Probably 5-10 mins later we would reach to top. The peak was so vertical that we couldn’t even gauge that how long we had to climb to reach the top. Sujoy, also gave me another option. He told me either I can continue with them or I can wait there, till they reached the top and came back and I can go down with them. Oh! God! What second choice. Am I supposed to wait for my entire crew member to go up and then come down and then only I will be able to go down with them? Am I supposed to wait all alone at this high altitude of Himalayan peak in this pinching wind and cold? No! Not at all! I am gonna continue with the climbing and I will finish it at any cost. So I stood up and started again. Well Sujoy was correct. We were just few feet below the top. We took 15 mins more to reach the top. Once we reached the top, our all efforts were paid off with high rate of interests. View from the top was mind blowing. The entire canvas was painted with bright blue, fresh white, rocky brown and silvery ice color. The sky was painted in deep vibrant blue color with shades of white feathery touch. Keeping the blue sky in the background giant rocky brown mountains created a magnificent contrast in the entire landscape. Adding to it the bright golden sunlight just before the sun set washed the entire picture to make it a masterpiece. And to give an unusual spiritual feeling to its viewer prayer flags were present right at the top of the peak and were placed just at centre of the imaginary canvas. It seemed to me that a supreme artist had painted the landscape with master strokes.

Here I want to recall the famous quote by Donald Miller –

“These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.” ― Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road

In front of my eyes I could see, the majestically flowing glacier of Langtang Lirung. The glacier was entirely visible from its starting point to far below where it descended along the peak into the valley. And the Langtang Lirung peak stood tall like a giant wall at the border of Nepal & Tibet. On one side of the landscape Yubra himal was declaring its presence proudly and on the other side the horizon was guarded by the beautiful fluted peak Gyanchempo. Its neighboring peak T-sergo Ri was completely covered beneath the icy blanket. On the top of the peak sound of shrill wind between the prayer flags were creating some sort of never before heard music. And just opposite to us or opposite to Kyanjin Ri peak the entire Himalayan range started glittering as the light from the setting sun rays fell on it. Though I was extremely tired and was still holding the hand of Shyam and resting myself keeping him as my support I didn’t forget to take photos of those extraordinary moments. Probably my photos can better tell my story to you rather than me.

Before sun sets, it was time to go down quickly to avoid any kind of unexpected accidents. Me and Persis along with three other guides we came down to the valley within 1 and half hour. Sujoy asked us to leave him alone. I am sure he was at the top all alone must have contemplated the beauty of the Himalayas. He must have immersed himself into the goodness of our mother nature. When we finally came down to the valley, it was a victory for us. We all realised we have done something, we achieved something. We have earned something which no one can steal away from us. What we gained was a lifetime experience. We challenged ourselves, we challenged our endurance level and we pushed ourselves beyond our capability and that was the victory.

We hugged each other and we congratulated each other for our never before tasted joy. After the cheerful moments, I came outside the lodge and stood in front of the peak Kyanjin Ri and looked at the top and found a moving dark blue dot in the last day lights. I understood that the dot was none other than Sujoy. I continued to watch the moving dots and slowly slowly it’s become a human body from a moving dot. Yes, I was correct it was Sujoy. I saw he took exactly 50 minutes to come down to the valley from the peak. I was impressed with his power and agility. Meanwhile our other two team members from USA, climbed slightly taller peak T-sergo Ri. Now it was the time for a grand celebration. Though there was little scope of having any celebration. But we all were relaxed and spent a good time in the evening. We all sat together close and cosy, we gossiped, we had fun and we end the day with great joy and satisfaction of achieving something new.

Day – 7 – Back to Kyanjin Gompa to Langtang Village – Now it was the hard time for me. It was the time to say adios. Oh! The feelings were heart wrenching. So many areas were yet to be explored. So many experiences were waiting to be experienced. Love that was never tasted was left incomplete. Next morning I explored the nearby areas with my fellow trek mate and took some amazing snaps. Day was bright and sunny. There was no pollution in the air. It was cold and windy yet enjoyable because of the bright sun lights. The day was picture perfect. So I invested the entire day in photographing. I took few great kaleidoscopic shots. It was a day of mountain photography.

But it was real hard for me to come back from that place as I know probably I will never go back to Langtang Village anymore in this life. Now when I have climbed one peak, I wanted to climb the T-Sergo Ri as well. Moreover I felt coming back was something like I was coming out of my dream zone. As if I had a great dream while sleeping and when I woke up I was facing the harsh reality but the essence of the dream still lingers on my mind. While coming back from Kyanjin, every time when I looked back I cried and I said goodbye to Himalaya. I prayed to God give me another chance to visit Himalaya. I said loudly, “I love you Himalayas”. Every time when I looked back and when I saw Kyanjin Ri standing tall in the horizon I cried again because of departing from him. It may sounds crazy but it seemed to me that probably the peak itself was silently watching me leaving him far behind and probably it wanted me the same way as I wanted myself to go back there.

But I had to leave because apart from mountains I was attached to many other responsibilities. I knew my parents were waiting eagerly to hear back from me. I have tasks left at plains too. So I had to leave the mountains behind. Sometimes in life you should leave few of your favourite tasks incomplete so that you can always have the urge to return to your favourite task. That’s how you will always feel motivated and will continue walking.

After coming back to Langtang Village, we all were waiting to go back home because home is what will always welcome you no matter how successful you are.

Day – 8 & 9 – Langtang Village to Lama Hotel to Syabru Bensi – Next two days we walked past the valley and again crossed the entire Langtang National forest. During our last bit of journey we were grew closer to each other. We were in love with the nature. Every one of us tried to notice every minute details of Mother Nature. We talked amongst ourselves, we discussed about our next mountain trips, and we planned our get-togethers. We were filled with joy. No one was carrying any animosity in their mind for anything. Probably this is the main reason everybody should travel and explore. Probably this is the only way to bring harmony amongst human race. The love I carried in my heart was never so great.

Ninth day we were back to Kathmandu. It was the time to say good bye to our friends.

I want to end this piece of writing with one of my favourite quotes by George Mallory –

“So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”

17 Comment

  • Shuva Nandy says:

    Nice sharing Susmita. Loved to read your experience.I think adding some pictures/Selfi will make the article more live !

  • Arun Kumar Banerjee says:

    Susmita, I am just speechless! I have no words to express my feelings while going through your post ‘Langtang Valley Trek’.It seems that it’s not you, it’s me who just came back from that heavenly places.I was never a student of english medium, but your power of using simple words to create a masterpiece painting with a pen instead of a brush made me feel like this.Thanks a lot!! Could you post some photographs of the same trip ?

  • susmita says:

    Hi Shuva,

    Thanks for the comment. Soon I will upload the images. Come back to this post few days later to see the images.

    Thanks – Susmita Mukhopadhyay

  • susmita says:

    Hi Arun Kumar,

    Thanks for your appreciation.

    Soon I will upload images relevant to this story. Would request you to come back to this post once again few days later to see the photographs.

    Meanwhile, you may like to browse through other posts. Any comment will be much appreciated.

    Thanks – Susmita Mukhopadhyay

  • Seto Himal says:

    WOW… Susmita…:)
    What an experience in Himalaya… Susmita please let us know in your next time visit in Nepal. We would like to assist you…:) Keep traveling on…!

    Stay Safe

  • susmita says:

    Seto Himal,

    Thanks for your beautiful comment.

    I am still uploading images for this post.

    Please be visit this post few more days, so that you can check all the images.

    I am sure you will like the images of Langtang Valley, Kyanjin Gompa and the others.

    I will let you know regarding my next trip to Nepal. Thanks for the assurance that you want to assist me. This will be of great help.

    By the way your site Seto Himal is nice and quite informative. I regularly follow your site and Social Media channels to collect information and to keep myself updated.

    Thanks – Susmita Mukhopadhyay

  • Awesome article Susmita. Loved the pictures. Do share more information on the trip via email.

  • susmita says:

    Hi Meenakshi,

    Thanks for your appreciation. I will definitely share my Langtang Valley trip experience in detail with you via email.

    Regards – Susmita

  • Avimanyu Sarkar says:

    Hi Susmita,

    Great essay on your Langtang Valley Trekking experience.

    The way you describe every bit of your Himalaya travleing exeperience is amazing. It seems I could see what you saw. It was like I actually travelling on the serene beautiful region.

    Sometime, someday, I wish to visit these places.

    Keep travelling, keep sharing.

    All the best!!

    Avimanyu

  • Sujoy Das says:

    An excellent first person account of the trek to the unspoilt Langtang valley! Hope to have Susmita right some more about her other treks as well!
    Best of luck!
    Sujoy
    http://www.sujoyrdas.blogspot.com

  • Sudipto Roy says:

    Very nice and well interspersed with photographs. I had gone to Langtang in the mid-80s. I could almost relive those memories. Buses would go as far as Trishuli Bazar. And the next day you could go in a mini bus as far as Dhunche from where the walk started. Trishuli to Dhunche was a kachcha road :-)
    It would have been nicer to see some of the places where you stayed and some more photographs of the locals. I remember spending the evening with the old Lama in Lama Hotel and he taught us a Nepali song – Resham Firiri. I still sing that song whenever I get a chance :-)

  • Susmita Mukhopadhyay says:

    Hi Sujoy,

    Thanks for your comment. As long as I will continue trekking with you in the Himalayan region, I will continue writing too.

    Regards – Susmita

  • Susmita Mukhopadhyay says:

    Hi Sudipto Da,

    Nice comment. Nice to know about the Nepali song – Resham Firiri. Go back to Langtang Valley once again and enjoy the beauty of Himalaya. There is nothing like being close to nature and specially at the Himalayan region. In my life I want to go back there once again as I couldn’t enter the ancient Buddhist monastery. I would like to complete my journey, so if possible I will go back there once.

    Best wishes – Susmita

  • Back in March, 2007 I was in Lang Tang valley with one Japanese tourist. Your description brought me back to those days. The description of the flora & fauna made it more interesting to feel the real time atmosphere. Your love for the nature could be seen in every line.

    I think the Himalayas makes you Lonely and crowded at the same moment. Keep traveling and keep on writing because a good traveler always keeps notes and leaves it for the posterity.

    Wish you many more happy treks.

    Debu

  • Jayanta Chakraborty says:

    Hi Sus,
    After a long time found a good travel blog. It was so nicely written, that the scenic beauty is like flashing infront. Keep up with the trekking and the good write-ups.

    Sorry for the delay in commenting

    Jay

  • Susmita Mukhopadhyay says:

    Hi Jayanta,

    Thanks for your nice comments.

    Regards – Susmita

  • Susmita Mukhopadhyay says:

    Debabrata Mukherjee,

    Sorry for the delayed response.

    I am extremely happy receiving your response on my blog article.

    … and obviously thanks for your best wishes and I must say that I truly want to continue with my travel to Himalayas.

    Thanks – Susmita

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *